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  • Click to view DeepakAmrik's profile
    Posted August 6, 2012 by
    San Antonio, Texas, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Sikh community speaks out

    We're Americans too

    As everybody is still reeling from the aftermath of the Wisconsin shooting incident, it is hard to find words to describe this horrific tragedy. What stands out to me the most is the sad irony that all are welcome to Sikh Gurdwaras (houses of worship) to meditate and partake in a community meal, yet the perpetrator of Sunday’s horrific assault had connections to white supremacy movements, organizations that possess an “us above all” mentality.
    My heart goes out to the victims, their loved ones, and to the Sikh community. My respect goes out to the heroes of yesterday: first and foremost, Wisconsin Gurdwara president Satwant Kaleka, who died while trying to tackle the gunman, showed why Sikhs are known to be protectors of injustice. Much respect is deserved for the courageous Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, who still motioned for other officers to keep helping victims, despite being seriously wounded after taking multiple bullets. Lt. Murphy was amongst the first officers to have arrived on the scene during the shooting, and I cannot thank him enough for his heroic actions. His heroic efforts were a clear reflection of his compassion for protecting others. That, to me, is what our country is about. This compassion is much larger than the peace-loving Sikh minority population in the United States.
    Sikh Americans are part of the American fabric, from coast to coast, working in every profession, serving in our armed forces, and holding important positions in American political and civil life. These individuals are just as much a part of American society as any other religious group. Still, Sikh Americans continue to experience hate crimes, job discrimination, school bullying, and racial profiling.
    It is tragic that this happened at a place where we open our arms to anyone who can walk in and sit among us as equals. This type of crime strikes at the core foundation of religious tolerance, a key belief in both the Sikh scriptures and in the First Amendment.
    With this incident, we must now allow for the healing to begin, and for our fellow citizens to hold the American Sikh community in their thoughts and prayers.

    Deepak Ahluwalia
    Sikh Coalition, Volunteer Advocate
    San Antonio, Texas
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